Two years ago, STA were tasked with managing the £150,000 funding that was donated by Inspire Leisure to promote the benefits of swimming across the district of Arun. Since the project began, hundreds of school children aged 7-11, from 20 local primary schools have been benefiting from free school swimming lessons.
This first-of-its-kind project was created in 2018 to provide enhanced aquatic opportunities across the district of Arun; with STA appointed by Inspire Leisure to manage all aspects of the 3-year project to ensure the funding benefited as many people as possible in Arun.
School swimming was prioritised as part of the funding project. This followed research that found over 23% of households in Arun had dependent children, with 15% of children living in deprivation. These statistics also supported STA’s own research in 2017, which showed that more than a quarter of children aged under 16 in the South East couldn’t swim.
Dave Candler, STA’s CEO said: “Thanks to funding from Inspire Leisure, we have been given the opportunity to work with local primary schools in Arun over the past two years to understand the barriers and the financial implications of school swimming. With the support of all the headteachers, we are thrilled that the funding has managed to help hundreds of school children across the district, and given them the opportunity to learn a key life skill. Plus, with the funding continuing for one more year, we hope even more schools in the district of Arun apply for 2020.”
We are thrilled that the funding has managed to help hundreds of school children across the district, and given them the opportunity to learn a key life skill.
Through the funding, 20 primary schools have been offered up to 15 hours of free-swimming tuition, with up to 16 children able to attend each lesson.
Mrs M Smailes, Headteacher at Rustington Community Primary School in Littlehampton said: “We are delighted to receive funding from the STA for swimming lessons for our Year 3 and Year 5 children. These swimming lessons provide our children with confidence in the water, a vital life skill when we live so close to the sea and the river.”
Clare Pascoe, Bursar at Eastergate CE Primary School, who also received funding, said: “STA funding has been crucial in enabling us to offer our children affordable swimming sessions that are already partly funded by the school; without the funding, our school would struggle to meet the cost, especially for transport.”
The other primary schools in the Arun District that have benefited from funding include: Aldingbourne, Arundel CE, Barnham, Bersted Green, Bishop Tuffnel Infant, Bishop Tuffnel Junior, Downview, East Preston Infant, East Preston Junior, Edward Bryant, Ferring, Nyewood Infants, River Beach, South Bersted, St Catherine’s, St Margaret’s, St Marys, St Wilfred’s, Goring CE Primary and White Meadows Primary.
STA confirms that the 3-year funding project will continue until the end of 2020, and in addition to school swimming is helping to financially support niche community projects including a Dementia Friendly Swimming programme. A fully-funded training programme for swimming teachers has also been introduced to help combat the shortage of swimming teachers in the region, which will continue over the next 12 months.
Dave Candler adds: “Given the success of this funding project in Arun and the real difference it has made; it would be fantastic to see similar funded schemes replicated across other areas of the country. If there are any businesses out there that would like to support a local school swimming programme like this in their region, please get in touch.”